…that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:13)
Today my family is celebrating the birthday of our son; he’s been our joy and delight for the past twenty years and now he’s a senior in college. Today I also taught a room full of college students studying to be teachers and we had a lively discussion about their plans to be the next generation of educators and their hopes and dreams for their lives and the lives of their students.
Today is also the day that the parents of Riley Howell suffered what no parent should ever have to endure. And I am sick with grief over what they are facing. Riley was the heroic young man who sacrificed his life at the University of North Carolina by tackling the sniveling cowardly scumbag murderer who thought he was a big man because he had an assault rifle in the sacred halls of learning, and then who mockingly bragged about it as he was arrested.
In that moment, when these two lives collided, Riley Howell showed what he was made of, as did the gunman. As did our society. Riley should NOT have had to make that courageous choice. He, and all students, should feel and be safe when they are sitting in their classrooms, as should all persons of faith in their houses of worship, and as should all Americans. Something is deeply wrong with us as a culture. How did New Zealand respond after the massacre at Christ Church? Their lawmakers passed a ban on most semiautomatic rifles within 30 days of their tragedy. Twenty years after Columbine and seven years after Sandy Hook, we still have done nothing, other than to continue to allow the NRA to buy our politicians and pick our elected officials.
I pray that our leaders in Congress will find a measure of the raw courage shown by Riley Howell, and finally do the right thing. #Guncontrolnow.
*Photos from the grieving Howell family